Category Archives: Love/Faith/Grace

My Bad Dream ~ demonic or just repeating pizza

 

woman-aloneThis morning I awoke half in a crazy dream state.

I was standing alone in some utilitarian building holding a framed photo of my mother, staring at it. Then the scene changed and I was homeless, on the street. Then it changed again and I’d been committed to an antiseptic mental hospital where I was questioned by sympathetic doctors in white coats.

I startled awake and said aloud, “Devil, you will not have my mind. As Jesus is in heaven, so am I in this world.” This, being my version of 1 John 4:17. I was amazed at how quickly I became free of any fear of this dream. Remembering dreams is kinda of new for me. For years I claimed I didn’t dream. However, dreaming and remembering them, or snatches of them, isn’t uncommon lately.

Was this dream demonic, or just bad pizza acting up. Well, I hadn’t had any pizza or any spicy food. My evening had been routine before going to sleep. So, I said to myself, “Self, this definitely is not of God.”

But was that true? I don’t have a photo of my parents hanging in my new home in Florida, and I’ve been here almost two years. It’s been on my heart to have an 8X10 of them in a golden frame. There was a beautiful photo of them at some senior affair. My dad held a glass of wine and my mom a glass of seltzer. They were smiling and radiant, having a good time. My sister-in-law, an amazing woman who I love dearly, does beautiful paintings from photos. She offered to do a painting from it, then somehow lost the photo.

I don’t have any digital photos of my parents, they passed a while back, which belies my claim that I’m still 39…but that would be quite another blog article.

Emil Navor WWII

Sgt Emil Navor WWII Pacific Arena

My cousin sent me a photo he digitized of my dad from WWII and of my mom’s immediate family, also from that era. I have photo albums I’ll have to go through to find one of them I can have enlarged. This is the God part. I should get going, find a photo to enlarge, and give it a place of honor in my home in a golden frame.

Grandma, Grandpa, Family

Helen Novogrodsky Navor,  1st row, 2nd from right

It’s quite interesting how “the dark side” lurks in the subconscious mind, twisting, and adding guilt and fear.

It’s also amazing how easily fear and guilt can be dispelled with the Word of God. Poof, it’s gone.

 

 

 

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Goodbye Ebony ~ she left on cat’s paws

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Ebony in 2016 when we first moved to NE Florida. She loved to sleep on the bookshelf where I piled books after I took them out of boxes.

When I returned home from Brooklyn after visiting my daughter for two weeks, I noticed Ebony had lost weight. Well, she’d always been a little chubby, so I figured now that I was back, she’d start eating again. And she did eat.

However, 72 hours later, at night, she had trouble swallowing and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. I thought it was an abscessed tooth. I told her how sorry I was she was in discomfort…to hang on until the next morning when I’d take her to the vet and they’d pull the tooth.

Dr. Rose did a physical exam and said it wasn’t a tooth. She only had to take one ex-ray. A huge tumor pressed on Ebony’s stomach, liver, and kidneys. She had trouble eating because there was swelling in the back of her throat. The vet said Ebony would not survive this, so there was only one choice. I had to put her down. I hugged her, kissed her, and stayed with her to the end. Dr. Rose always sings at the very end. She sang, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for Ebony.

That song was so appropriate for Ebony. She was sweet, as gentle as a whisper, and affectionate. She had particularly taken to my author friend when Jenna Victoria visited a few months ago. I’m so blessed that Jenna got to know Ebony. She was a dear pet….the epitome of the phrase: on cats’ paws.

After I left the vet’s office, I confronted myself acting as my own accuser. If only…Maybe if I had come back from New York City earlier. Guilt. I should never have misjudged Ebony’s illness and lack of appetite as being caused by missing me. Self-condemnation. After all, I was the one who said ‘yes’ to euthanasia. Judgement. Many people do this. Men feel they should be able to fix all things that aren’t working right. Women feel they should be able to comfort, bolster up, even resuscitate (emotionally and physically) those they love. This certainly includes a beloved pet.

Romans 8:1 [NASB] ~ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If there was something we could’ve done better, and there usualy is…we can learn from it for the next situation. In this case, as believers, we must submit to God, repent, accept His forgiveness and grace…walk on and sin no more. Whenever we find ourselves nursing guilt, we must submit to God and push it away. If there was nothing or very little we could’ve done better, again, we must submit to God, and push the truly useless condemnation away. This takes making a quality decision on our parts. The accusation is of the enemy. We must move past it and move on to what God has for us…follow the path He’s set before us.

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Ebony (l), Trouble (C), Meadow (R) when they were ‘kittlets’ ~ not kittens anymore, yet not quite cats. Brooklyn, N&

 


Why Pray? ~ National Day of Prayer

Moi, War Room

Since I saw the movie War Room with my good friend, author Jenna Victoria, I’ve been praying a lot more. That film prompted e to stick my formal, written prayers up on the side of my refrigerator [my war room]. That led to me talking to God in my head a lot more. I used to converse in my haed with a an absent, respected friend in order to work something out. Increasingly, I find myself having those types of convos with God.

What I found from these talks with God was an intimacy was taking shape. Without realizing it, I was building a relationship with my Lord and Savior.

As prayer became more of a normal part of my life, I internalized that I was indeed a child of God with certain rights and priveleges (and responsibilities) in the kingdom. I was able to make a few difficult decisions with greater peace, without obsessing about the opinions of people. Did I ponder what others might think of me? Yes, I did, and then I moved on with what I had determined was the right thing to do. The result was, I had peace with it.

Do I forget to pray? Yes. Am I always in peace? No, oh, heavens no. Am I still a whiner? Sometimes, yes. But my prayer life has improved and my life is richer for it.

Moi, Ponte Vedra Beach Lib


Are You On The Outside ~ looking in?

Outsider

Are you the one who walks into a social setting and can’t find anyone to talk to? It seems all the people there are engaged in enjoyable conversations, but they won’t let you into the discussion. What do you do? Get a drink of something (wine, or a soft drink) and stand against the wall hoping someone will come by you can talk to? Maybe this even happens to you at church. Is that why you tend to come in late so you can slip in unnoticed…because you feel you’d be unnoticed anyway.

I am not a social butterfly. I do much better with the written word than I do socializing with a group of people. I suppose that’s why I’m a writer and not a public speaker. However, I’ve gotten better with people and have discovered there’s a root to this in myself and in others who are even more introverted than I am. It’s fear of man. Some of us have been sorely mistreated by others, absolutely run over (figuratively). We’ve been cheated, lied to, stolen from, and even physically threatened and abused. If we’re in a state of acute anger about this…let me remind you, anger is a cousin to fear.

Fear is the opposite of faith. And so, for believers, faith is the antidote or cure for fear. In any isolating situation, we need to focus on faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17 [KJV]

Several translations, including the NASB which is my favorite, say: and hearing by the word of Christ. Christians know the Word of God is powerful and can be and should be applied to everyday life There are many places to hear the Word of God. Just turn on any Christian television show or radio broadcast. Or go to that pesky church service, even if you have to sit way in the back at first.

In my opinion, the cure for almost anything is to follow the commandment Jesus gave us to walk in love.

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22: 37-40 [NASB]

What Jesus is talking about is agape love, or the God kind of love. This is the highest form of love and is sometimes translated as “charity”. We are to be kind and charitable to others and to ourselves. Who are we anyway, to be beating ourselves up with everything we did wrong, every mistake we made, every sin when God has forgiven us and remembers it no more? That self unforgiveness is really a manifestation of pride. We think: I’m so bad God might be able to forgive me because He’s God, after all. But it’s really unforgivable and so I can’t forgive myself. That’s actually funny, sadly funny.

Or, we tell ourselves, what they did to me was unforgivably horrid. How could they do that abhorrent thing? The real question is how could they not? We’re living in a lost and fallen world. Without the restraint of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they are able to commit real atrocities. Just turn on the news.

Whatever you did…whatever they did to you…let it all go and walk in love, kindness, and gentleness toward yourselves and others. This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat for the unrepentant, but you can forgive them and move on. You’ll be better for it. And maybe you won’t be so fearful and you’ll be able to come inside from the cold…even if it’s just a little bit at first. As you trust God’s grace, you’ll trust the God in you, and not be fearful of others.


Deep Emotional Pain ~ can create soul wounds

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Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.

I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.

I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.

 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]

Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.

This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.

As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.

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What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus,  coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.

And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.

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Joseph D. Chillemi; July 30, 1951 – December 8, 2016; husband, father, son, friend, social worker

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FAITH IS LIKE ~ walking on water

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I can look back at a number of instances, since I’ve been saved (born again) and have come through a really bad circumstance, and go, “Yeah, that right there was God all right. Boy was that way cool! No mistaking that one. It was God.” But at the time it felt as if high water was beneath me. In fact, waves were crashing all around me. I trusted God, and He moved, and it was awesome. But at the time it was also very scary.

It was as if Jesus was saying, “Follow me in the midst. Walk with me. Take each step with me even if you don’t know where we’re going. Walk on the water.”

The Holy Spirit (Who I often think of as Jesus Unlimited On The Earth) knows where we are going, and all I have to do is follow. I have to fight and cast down my fear of the waves, and also of what might be under the waves and over the waves. I need to build up my faith in Him.

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Under The Waves

 

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Over The Waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the truth is, it would’ve been even scarier without God. The situation was a challenge and without God there might not have been a satisfactory or triumphant ending.  Trials and tribulations come and believers have to make choices. Will we trust in God and follow Him not knowing how and where He will lead us out of the situation? Or are we such control freaks we must be in charge, we must know the battle plan?

How many times do we have to lose a battle, or have a much less than victorious outcome to admit we are not the Commander-in-Chief that God is? The scary part is letting go of the wheel and letting God take over. This doesn’t mean we do nothing. We get still and listen. We pray through. We do what we feel prompted to do by the still small voice. We MUST learn to trust that inner witness.

When we do step out in faith and let God run the show, the outcome may not be what we desire, but it will come with peace. And we just might be amazed how many times the outcome is so much more and superior to we could have imagined. Many, many believers will attest to this.

 


Oy, Another Trial ~ and I’ve been acting like an over-tired baby

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I took a step outside my front door this morning with my trusty gal-pal Sophie, and these words sounded loud and clear inside my head: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I’m facing a particular trial at this time to which these words apply. Let’s see, it’s Thursday, and I’ve got Thursday’s trial. It seems to go that way, doesn’t it.

Anyway, I began to say those words of Scripture from Psalm 23 aloud as Sophie and I walked along, so she could do her business. I must’ve repeated them aloud 35 or so times. You see, I believe the Word of the Lord is powerful and does not return void. These were the “words” He gave me this morning and I wanted to verbally release them into the atmosphere of my life.

When Sophie and I returned to the house, I felt like maybe the Holy Spirit was suggesting I read Psalm 23. Then I did that funny thing Christians do. “What if it wasn’t the Spirit? What if it was just me?” And I had to laugh at how we are. In this case, even if I “missed it,” reading the psalm was a good thing. So, I opened my Bible.

green patures

 

And the next line hit me as something fresh. It was the Spirit prompting me to read it. He makes me lie down in green pastures. I’ve always seen that line as wonderful poetry emanating from the mind of God through David, lyrical in its beauty, bucolic.

This time I saw the strong arm of God. I’d never seen that before in this line. I had to take another look, and another. It actually says, he makes me lie down, makes me do it. I checked several translations and they all say, makes me. Has a parent or a highly respected dear friend ever said in a tone that brokered no argument, “Go lay down and rest!”? That’s the kind of makes me I saw in this line for the first time today. The Lord can spiritually hit believers right between the eyes and say, “Rest!”.

The Lord’s mind is so all encompassing it’s amazing (in the true sense of the word ‘amazing’), and he can be a bit sneaky too in His intimate relationship with his children, marvelously sneaky. Want to know what I’ve been studying this week? Well, I’ll tell you.

Resting in the finished work of Jesus. ~ The battle is the Lord’s, so let Him fight it.

Of course that implies I’ve been doing all the things God’s been leading me to do in the natural world. Having done all that, I’m to give the battle over to Him. He’s got a much longer arm than I’ve got.


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